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Cruise Ship Information

Disney Fantasy is a cruise ship owned and operated by Disney Cruise Line, part of The Walt Disney Company, which entered service in 2012. The Disney Fantasy currently sails seven-night Caribbean cruises. Her sister ship, Disney Fantasy, was launched in 2011. Disney Fantasy is the fourth ship in the cruise line.

Atmosphere on board

When Disney Fantasy debuted in January 2011, it was a watershed moment for Disney Cruise Line (DCL), which had been on the new-build sideline for 12 years. While maintaining the line's distinctive ocean-liner silhouette, the ship was bigger, bolder and -- let's face it -- better than its older sisters (Disney Magic and Disney Wonder). Despite all of its innovations and sleek design touches, there were areas onboard deemed lacking by some, particularly the top deck.

Enter Dream's sibling, the 128,690-ton, 2,500-passenger Disney Fantasy (4,000 max occupancy), which debuted in March 2012. Substituting brighter art nouveau flourishes for art deco and homing in on Dream's shortcomings, DCL has delivered a ship that seems light-years improved over its predecessor -- though it's only modestly different.

Unlike Dream, which embarks on three- and four-night excursions out of Port Canaveral, Fantasy is geared toward seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries (including a stop at Castaway Cay, DCL's private island). So the ship comes equipped with new shows and activities to kill time at sea, though these things would surely be welcome additions to Dream.

Indeed, Fantasy has many of the features already found on Dream, including the AquaDuck "watercoaster"; "Magical Portholes" showing real-time sea views in inside cabins; the uber-deluxe Remy French restaurant; and sophisticated venues for kids, teens and adults. Public spaces remain a sea of polished wood and Disney artwork, and cabins are largely identical. So what's new?

"Wishes" is a Broadway-style musical focusing on three Disney-loving teenagers who are facing tough decisions about relationships, dreams and adulthood as they near high school graduation. Also, a musical based on the Disney animated film "Aladdin" makes the leap from the Disney theme parks into repertory in the ship's Walt Disney Theatre.

The Muppets make their at-sea debut as part of an interactive mystery game that takes passengers around the ship in search of clues.

On Fantasy, the adults-only "district" -- here called Europa -- fills the same space as the one on Dream, but with different offerings and a reconfigured layout. Themed around European travel, all the bars and lounges have been tweaked, some dramatically.

The AquaLab is a new 1,800-square-foot water play area on Deck 12 (it replaces the under-peopled Waves bar). Expect pop jets, geysers, bubblers and all manner of watery mayhem.

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a Disney parks transplant making its premiere on the seven seas. This pint-sized salon turns girls into their favorite princesses -- for a (hefty) price. On Pirate Night, budding buccaneers can go the eye patch-and-scabbard route.

A new top-deck adults-only area called the Satellite Sun Deck is centered on a water feature called Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with benches and a fountain that runs its circumference and drips water down on the overheated masses. In addition, the upper deck of the Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar, both line staples, have been reconfigured with protective canopies to provide shade and a small wading pool.

Family with Kids/Teens

Disney's acclaimed kids clubs are what keep many loyal families coming back. It's not just the innovative, engaging spaces for kids and familiar characters that make them such a success; the counselors are truly extraordinary. They offer far more than smiling faces to greet you at check-in. Indeed, these men and women are experienced, attentive and downright fun, with a keen eye for spotting children who need encouragement, a friend to play with or a major timeout.

The Oceaneer's Club and Lab on Deck 5 (ages 3 to 12) are connected on Fantasy (hooray!) so kids can roam back and forth, effectively doubling the space available to them at any given time. Club activities are geared to younger kids and Lab for older, but Disney's innovative approach of allowing kids of all ages to access both clubs means that siblings can hang out together if they choose, and children can pursue their own interests.

Highlights in Oceaneer's Club include the adorable Andy's Room, which has oversized characters like the dinosaur and pig from "Toy Story" for little ones to climb on, and the Laugh Floor, where kids can measure their own volumes on the "laugh-o-meter" and hang out with Mike and Sully of "Monsters, Inc." fame. The Lab has a maritime theme, a new Animator's Studio and a mini sound studio. A notable addition to both the Club and Lab are the MagicPlay Floors, which are ridiculously popular. Picture a dance floor with a giant square in the center (20 by 20 feet). On it, kids play interactive games, controlling the outcome by where they step on the floor -- similar to the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, minus the music.

Fantasy has a kids club dedicated entirely to tweens, ages 11 to 13. (Yes, 11- and 12-year-olds have access to the Oceaneer Club and Lab, as well as the tween club.) True to its name, the Edge is located in the funnel on Deck 13, far removed from the other kids clubs. What seemed like a decent idea in theory doesn't work here; we didn't like seeing preteens hanging out in the staircase, unsupervised. Inside, however, it delivers, with an 18-foot-tall video wall, video karaoke and computers with access to an intranet-based (limited to the ship) social media app. The 9,000-square-foot teen club, Vibe (ages 14 to 17), has modular furniture, a fountain bar and its own outdoor space (new for Disney) with a sun deck and wading pools. It's located forward on Deck 5.

The kids clubs also have an outpost on Castaway Cay, so parents can enjoy some private beach time while kids hang out with their friends in a supervised setting on the island.

For the tiniest tots, there is the It's a Small World Nursery on Deck 5 midship, reserved for those from 6 months to 3 years. (Babies as young as 12 weeks are allowed onboard through 2014 and are grandfathered in to 2015 bookings made before the change in age restrictions was announced in July 2014.) The price is $9 per hour for the first child, $8 for the second, and it's open from 9 a.m. to midnight. The nursery offers an age-appropriate playroom, as well as a quiet area with cribs, swings and rocking chairs.

Note that all children enrolled in the nursery and Oceaneer Club/Lab, for which they need to sign in and out with a special wristband, will be charged a $12.95 fee for the band. If it's returned at the end of the cruise, the charge will be removed. (Neither the fee nor how to avoid it was made clear to us on our sailing.)

If you want to play with your child in Fantasy's kids clubs, look for Open House hours in the daily newsletters. These are times when the clubs are open for unsupervised (by Disney staff) play, and age restrictions don't apply. You can let your toddler explore Andy's Room or experience the MagicPlay Floor. There are also special toddler play hours in the Nemo's Reef splash zone and in the waiting area outside the Enchanted Garden restaurant for safe baby play.

For parents with babies and toddlers, the ship can provide Pack 'n Plays and diaper pails in your cabin, as well as high chairs and pureed food in the restaurants. You can buy diapers, wipes, formula and other baby supplies onboard at the Whitecaps store.

Past Passenger Programs

There's no neon, jam-packed bar or bank of glittery ascending elevators in Disney Fantasy's marvelous three-deck atrium … just a bronze statue of Minnie Mouse, a grand piano, marble floor, a curving staircase and enough art nouveau flourishes to keep would-be designers in awe for days (the chandelier alone is a jaw-dropper). The entire affair takes its cue from a peacock, so there are feathery swirls aplenty -- even in the metalwork gracing the walls -- and a rich Caribbean palette of blue, green and gold. The balconies on all sides provide excellent vantage points for the events held here, including performances (vocal and instrumental), character greetings and a tree-lighting ceremony at Christmas.

While the shops onboard offer typical Mouse merchandise, jewelry and duty-free booze and fragrances, there is one newbie generating lots of buzz: the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, a small-fry salon that turns children into princesses and pirates for a fee (from $55 for hair and makeup to almost $600 for a three-makeover package that includes a wardrobe). It's a lovely little space in what used to be a bland meeting room, but those prices are fearsome -- though not enough to scare parents away, so be sure to make reservations.

As of Febraury 2014, Disney Magic offers a new Connect@Sea program in which you pay for the data you use intstead of per minute. Sample rates start at 25 cents per megabite and increase depending on what you do online. Examples include the small package at $19 for 100 megabites, the medium package at $39 for 300 megabites and the large package at $89 for 1,000 megabites.

Like the other ships in the fleet, Disney Fantasy offers neither a library nor a casino. And while there is Wi-Fi throughout the ship, there is no dedicated Internet cafe. The Cove Cafe, a Wi-Fi hotspot, does have laptops you can use for an additional fee.

Each deck has a laundromat with an iron to work out the creases before dinner.

Fitness And Spa

At first blush, Dream and Fantasy's top decks seem largely identical. Like that on Dream, Fantasy's pool deck features a large, family-oriented area, complete with hot tubs and a pair of pools. The Mickey pool -- whose spiral slide is supported by a giant gloved hand -- hosts a parade of happy young'uns as it does on Dream. Likewise, the bland, five-foot-deep Donald's Pool sits in front of the 24-foot-tall LED screen mounted on the ship's funnel. There's also a "Finding Nemo"-themed toddler splash area tucked out of the way in the shade.

But venture into the adults-only area and things start to change. The multi-deck Quiet Cove, Disney's adults-only pool area, has been tweaked on Fantasy; nicer loungers, canopy-covered shade zones and the "funnel puddle" fountain/wading pool have been added to the mix. And the forward area on Deck 13, a vast wasteland on Dream, has been transformed into the Satellite Sun Deck, with more canopied areas and Satellite Falls, a circular splash pool with a "rain curtain" that provides cool comfort on steamy Caribbean days. It's a splendid area with a big plus: We never had problems finding an open lounger.

The AquaDuck watercoaster remains the piece de resistance for, well, just about everyone. For some reason, Fantasy's seems a little faster than its Dream predecessor, but that could be wishful thinking. Riders on rafts zip through a transparent tube that rings the pool area -- at one point swinging out 13 feet off the side, 150 feet above the ocean. There is a 42-inch height requirement, so prepare younger siblings, and try to go in the early-evening pre-dinner hour, when the line dwindles to nothing.

Just behind the entrance to the AquaDuck on Deck 12 is the new AquaLab, which replaces the oft-empty Waves bar on Dream. Without the long lines of the 'Duck, the 'Lab is geared toward getting you soaking wet while explaining the backstory of the watercoaster. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but who cares? Water pours down from above, shoots up from below, squirts out from the side. Watch out, kids. Mom and Dad may steal this one for themselves.

The predictably serene Senses Spa & Salon offers the usual range of treatments, from haircuts and manicures to more exotic fare like hot-stone massages and mud baths. Teens can get pampered on their parents' dime at Chill, a youth-oriented adjunct located within Senses. The Fitness Center provides treadmills, stationary cycles and the like. Classes in yoga and Pilates are taught for an additional fee.

Goofy's Sports Deck on Deck 13 aft offers mini-golf, a basketball court, ping-pong tables and virtual sports simulators that allow passengers to play soccer, football, ice hockey golf, tennis and basketball via digitized graphics (perfect for rainy days, but there's a fee). Runners can head down to Deck 4 for a jog; one lap around the promenade equals .4 miles.

Food & Dining

For the most part, dining options mirror those on Disney Fantasy, with one wondrous exception (more on that in a bit). The rotational dining routine unique to Disney remains on Fantasy, with diners moving from one eatery to the next each night, their regular servers in tow. The three main themed-dining restaurants -- Animator's Palate, Enchanted Garden and the Royal Court -- have each received a bit of an upgrade on the newer ship; for instance, a painted wall in Dream's Royal Palace is now an elaborate mosaic in Fantasy's Royal Court.

One thing: While you move from one restaurant to another each night, there are still prescribed times to dine, a bother if you'd prefer to chow down on your own terms.

Animator's Palate -- a colorful pastiche of giant paintbrushes, cartoon art and big-screen TVs -- is home to that aforementioned exception, the startlingly brilliant "Animation Magic" show. After you draw a character on your placemat (basically scrawl whatever you want in a template that looks like a person), they're scooped up by waiters. Then, about two-thirds into the meal, everyone's masterpieces come to life -- dancing, skipping, singing -- on the screens around the room. The effect is breathtaking. (Be careful with those drawings: Racy ones are censored backstage and won't make the cut.)

The show runs in repertory with "Undersea Magic," which features an animated Crush the Turtle from "Finding Nemo." He interacts in real time with diners, which can be both thrilling and a little off-putting if he starts chatting you up when you have food in your mouth.

The French countryside-inspired Enchanted Garden transforms from day into night depending on what meal you're at -- daytime for breakfast and lunch, nighttime for dinner (complete with starry sky). Meanwhile, the waiters at the Royal Court -- a richly appointed affair with a huge chandelier, plush furniture and myriad Cinderella references -- literally treat you like a king; they're lined up when you arrive and garbed in imperial costumes.

Overall, the quality of the food is good, with the surf-and-turf at Animator's Palate a standout (regular entrees include beef tenderloin and mushroom risotto). The Royal Court menu has a French accent, so expect such offerings as Dijon-roasted rack of lamb and a wine list that harks back to the Continent. Enchanted Garden is the sole member of the trio that offers three meals daily -- buffets at breakfast and lunch and a seasonal menu in the evening (think prime rib, sea bass and wild boar, with desserts like creme brulee).

The children's menus throughout the ship are predictable at best, but we have a confession: We spent a lot of time noshing at Flo's Café, with its side-by-side fast-food stations on Deck 11 in the pool area. The pizza, burgers, chicken fingers and wraps are terrific, and none too healthy.

Other dining spots include Cabanas, also on Deck 11, a mammoth, twisty buffet with a beach theme. Seating is indoors or out, and there's ample space to tuck into the decent variety of chow, including fresh-carved meat (turkey and, on our voyage, some huge hunk of beef called "steamship"), pasta, a salad bar and the like. The Cove Cafe, adjacent to the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool, doles out gratis snacks and for-fee specialty coffee drinks ($2 and up) and cocktails.

Room service is free and includes a limited menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts.

Last but certainly not least are Fantasy's two alternative dining spots, both adults only: Remy, the French blockbuster introduced on Disney Fantasy, and DCL stalwart Palo, an Italian holdover from the line's other ships.

At $75 a pop, Remy remains the most expensive restaurant at sea, and if you add in the $99-a-head fee for the wine-pairing option, you may be talking about one of the most expensive meals you've had on land as well. Is it worth it? Up to you, but we were wowed by the exquisite service, languorous pace of the meal (three-plus hours) and, of course, the food -- seven courses of ultra-rich Gallic grub that we're still dreaming about.

Passengers are invited to meet with the sommelier pre-dinner to plan the wines for the evening (nice touch), and we were surprised to find a box of Remy chocolates on our bed when we returned from our gastronomical expedition. Yes, we ate them.

Palo offers al-fresco dining as well as seating in a warm Italianate space showcasing floor-to-ceiling windows with amazing views. This Northern Italian eatery serves dinner nightly, as well as a Champagne brunch on sea days. The cover is $25. Carb cravers may refuse to share the awesome bread basket, but don't fill up on those empty calories: Our lobster ravioli rocked, though we also coveted our tablemate's osso bucco. Brunch includes a cold buffet (meats and cheese, shrimp, salads, desserts) and a selection of hot made-to-order items (omelets, fish).


Let's get right to the point: Character meet-and-greets are the heart of a Disney cruise, and you'll see Mickey and Co. everywhere onboard, from the sailaway party and shows in the D Lounge (a family-friendly gathering spot featuring karaoke and the like) to random sightings on Castaway Cay and in the atrium. As excited as kids can get at the theater productions and interactive events, nothing brings bigger smiles than snapping that one-on-one photo with Minnie.

That said, the stage shows are unlikely to disappoint (unless you love -- as we do -- DCL's "Golden Mickeys" production, which isn't in the Fantasy repertoire). The lavish Walt Disney Theater is home to "Wishes," a new 45-minute musical centering on three teens worrying about the ramifications of growing up (don't we all?). Before you know it, a steady stream of Disney characters is warbling to the trio. It's harmless, infectious, big-budget fun. Ditto "Disney's Believe," which premiered on Dream and focuses on the story of a workaholic single father who reconnects with his daughter. Another host of old-time favorites make song-and-dance appearances, including Cinderella and Peter Pan.

Our favorite show is "Disney's Aladdin -- A Musical Spectacular," which lives up to its title. A Disney theme park fave, the show is making its debut at sea on Fantasy. Don't skip this one: The special effects are terrific, the jokes timely, the music lovely and the story familiar if you've seen the flick.

The popular "Pirates in the Caribbean" deck party is broken into separate parts on Fantasy, though darned if we didn't think the kids' portion was just as fun as the one for adults. A sing-along early in the evening for little ones called "Mickey's Pirates in the Caribbean" is followed by "Hunt Fer Jack," a live-action show featuring Jack Sparrow rappelling off the funnel. The latter ends on an explosive high: Disney's now-iconic "Buccaneer Blast" fireworks. (Tip: For an unobstructed view, catch it from the Currents bar on Deck 13.)

Afterward, the family-friendly Club Pirate has everyone shaking their (pirate's) booty. It ends, unfortunately, precisely at midnight -- just when things really start to rock.

That's when adults can head to Deck 4's retooled "entertainment district," comprising a European-themed quintet of bars and lounges (hence its Europa moniker). On Dream, the area seems an afterthought, with winding corridors, empty bars divided by a tiled path and no real theme.

Not so on Fantasy: The areas include La Piazza, an Italian fun zone with a giant bar in the shape of a carousel; O'Gill's, an Irish pub packed with sports fans; Ooh La La, a sumptuous, garish French Champagne bar; and the Tube, a late-night club awash in a London vibe, complete with phone booths you can boogie in, subway-like seating and illuminated dance floor. Skyline, which features large-scale photos of European capitals that change every 15 minutes, is the only repeat from Dream -- though DCL wisely brought it back a bit larger. Look for the dancing Mickey in one of the photos.

Other watering holes include the aforementioned Currents, one of the few spots onboard that allows smoking, and the top-deck Meridien. The latter is a cocktail bar tucked between Palo and Remy; its outdoor terrace doubles as a cigar lounge.

Love Disney flicks? You can catch a wide variety for free on demand in your cabin or in the lovely Buena Vista Theatre, which features first-run movies (some in 3D) as well as classics. Movies, sporting events and music videos are also shown on the poolside jumbotron.

Fellow Passengers

Disney's primary market, of course, is families, especially those with kids younger than 8; however, teen cruisers will find much to like in the venues geared toward them. Beyond that, Disney has strong appeal for multigenerational travelers, and its spa, bar district and alternate dining facilities mean that adults of any age will find their own spaces onboard. The passenger makeup is dominated by American and Canadian travelers.

Our recommendation

The Disney Fantasy is the majestic third ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Boasting 14 towering decks, a ship length of 1,115 feet and a maximum width of 125 feet, the 130,000-ton vessel includes 1,250 staterooms and has the capacity to comfortably accommodate 4,000 passengers—along with the over 1,458 Crew Members who tend to the needs of every cruise Guest each and every day.

Building on the classic style of the previous 2 ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, the Disney Fantasy is a valiant vessel distinguished for its classic early 20th-century design—which harkens back to the golden age of cruising—and state-of-the-art technology. As can be expected from Disney, the cruise liner was specially designed with families in mind, combining sleek style and convenient facilities with splashes of magic and cruise-industry firsts—like the splashtacular AquaDuck, the very first water coaster at sea.